Iraq "wants Russians to Replace Exxon at West Qurna"

By John Lee.

Iraq is considering replacing ExxonMobil at the supergiant West Qurna-1 oilfield with Russian companies LUKoil and Gazprom Neft, according to a report from Nefte Compass.

Iraq regards Exxon's contracts in the northern Kurdish region of the country as illegal.

But if any agreement was reached at this week's meeting between Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Russian President Vladimir Putin, it has not been made public.

Reuters cites a spokesman for LUKoil, which operates West Qurna-2, as saying the company is not planning to increase its exposure in Iraq by acquiring a stake in West Qurna-1, reiterating the company's official line that it is satisfied with its portfolio in Iraq.

Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of the world's top natural gas producer Gazprom, declined to comment.

Sources have told Reuters that Russia's top oil company Rosneft, may team up with Exxon in Iraq after the two have struck a landmark agreement to jointly tap Arctic hydrocarbon riches and oil and gas in North America.

Rosneft also declined to comment on the possibility of entering Iraq.

(Source: Reuters)

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